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These 9 Webtoon comics all own my heart and soul

As I mentioned before, I spent my months-long slump (which is calling it lightly, to be honest) reading manga and Webtoon comics and watching anime. These are things I had to set aside for most of my university life to prioritize studies.

Now I get to re-indulge myself in all things animu and mango, and get back in touch with my inner otaku. Looking at all the various art styles also inspired me to get back into drawing.

And as you might have noticed, since um… March, I’m in a blog writing slump. I mean, I did have This One Draft™ I’ve been writing for weeks months. But it’s kiiinda heavy and maaaybe a tiny bit controversial.

So is this me deliberately postponing having to deal with said heavy draft?

Well… yes.

Anyways, if you’re new to Webtoon or want to take a looksie, here are a few good ones I’ve been reading since I got into Webtoon comics this past year.

Lore Olympus

Banner with text, "Romance, Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe."

Premise: A modern retelling of the Rape of Persephone and other Greek mythology stories we all know and love. (Partly because our English/Literature class made us read ‘em and partly because of Rick Riordan sksksksks)

I was a bit hesitant to read this, to be honest. My experience with Greek mythology retellings and adaptations, other than Uncle Rick’s, is that they make it too dramatic, too action-packed and the characters too one-dimensional. (Yes, I’m talking about all the live action movies that came out between 2010 and 2015 *cough*)

Learning about the Olympians and the Greek heroes through an objective lens in school already gave me a disconnect with the stories and the characters. I don’t want that kind of feeling when I’m watching/reading it for entertainment as well.

But this comic—

Boi.

Not only is it more relatable as it’s set in a contemporary setting, but the characters have more depth to them. It’s like the creator, Rachel Smythe, had a template to follow then added her own magical details into it. Ultimately, she made something incredibly unique and precious.

( And 80% of the series’ preciousness is Persephone, let’s be real here.)

And the art is sooo good too. Kinda like the Greek illustrations you see in ancient pots in museums? But in gorgeous technicolor.

Trigger warning, though: Since this is mostly based on The Rape of Persephone (and a modern retelling at that), this series has illustrated sexual abuse and actual rape in it. Also, toxic relationships.

You can read Lore Olympus on Webtoon here.

Gourmet Hound

Banner with text, "Drama. Gourmet Hound by Leehama."

Premise: Girl with a heightened sense of taste and smell realized her favorite restaurant’s dishes tastes differently which can only mean they changed staff. This leads to her mission of finding the chef whose cooking she’s loved for years.

Anything that has to do with food is an immediate yes for me. But I didn’t start Gourmet Hound the first time I saw it since it was on a hiatus. And if you’re a regular manga reader like myself, you know hiatuses (hiati?) are the devil especially when you’re following an ongoing series.

But then it returned to its regular posting, and I started reading it and—chokes.

To say that it’s all about food is both accurate and inaccurate.

The characters are so well-developed. No matter how small a role they may have, Leehama certainly put just as much thought into the side characters as she did with the mains. And that says a lot about her dedication on the series. Not only that, all the characters have food-related names. And I mean all the characters – even the very cute dog who has the most important role of them all. (If you’ve read the series or you’re at least twenty chapters in, you know what I’m talking about.)

Best of all, the cast is diverse. And I mean, it has a Filipino in the main cast. Do y’all know how much I SCREAMED when I realized Graham is Filipino???(Hint: I got scolded for being a disturbance to the neighbors. As usual.)

Join me as I cry and get hungry while reading this!

Crumbs

Banner with text, "Romance, Crumbs by Whitherling."

Premise: In a bakery where you can buy baked goodies like “love” and “confidence”, a certain witch-in-training with a certain unique power is a regular and she always buys the same thing: “romance.”

Another food-related series, although this one is relatively new. Crumbs is all sorts of soft and fluffy. Even the art style is soft and fluffy.

So far in the series, there isn’t a huge overall story arc revealed. Maybe because this is more character-oriented than plot-oriented. (But y’all won’t see me complainin’.) You can tell from the get-go that the characters have gone through some shit, though.

Overall, it’s a story about finding your worth and following your heart. And it’s just so so cute uwu-ma-heart.

You can read Crumbs on Webtoon.

Castle Swimmer

Banner with text, "Fantasy, Castle Swimmer by Wendy Lian Martin."

Premise: Under the sea, a Beacon of prophecies and a prince of a crumbling kingdom meets. The Beacon is the guiding light that will supposedly bring a prosperous future to all. The prince is tasked to kill said Beacon for his own people’s future.

This series is so gay and so soft, I’m cRYING.

The prince, Siren, is precious and must be protected. (Like seriously, he must be protected.) And the Beacon is the cutest, shiniest sea creature ever, Tamatoa would weep green (shiny) tears of envy.

At time of writing, I’m wary of the heavy drama of the recent updates. But I like to believe that this is just one arc among many many more arcs. And I just hope they’d be together by the end of this. Goddammit, Siren’s mom.

(Final edit notes: The first season is done, I am both happy and unsatisfied dammit!!! Read on to find out what I mean *wink wink*.)

Boyfriend of the Dead

Banner with text, "Comedy, Boyfriend of the Dead by Ushio"

Premise: A tourist gets interrupted on her date and shopping when everyone around her, including her pathetic now-ex-boyfriend, turned into zombies. Having no choice but to protect herself, she wields an axe and meets a zombie on the way. A zombie who can, somehow, communicate with her.

The humor in this series is god-tier. It’s also another series with food heavily integrated into its story. (Yes, most of the comics I’m reading are food-related. And no, the food in this particular series are not human brains.)

The canon OTP is one of the best I’ve seen in a while. This is a pair that’s arguably legendary by now. Like, you’d place them alongside SSS-rank canon OTPs like Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. At least I would.

(Final edit notes: I’m pretty sure there have been some serious development in the past couple months’ updates but, in preparing for the holidays, I haven’t caught up to them yet hehe. But you can start reading it here.)

My Deepest Secret

Banner with text, "Drama, My Deepest Secret by Hanza Art."

Premise: A sweet girl with a tragic past + a very handsome, very kind and very caring boyfriend. One of them is clueless. Both are keeping a secret from each other.

I’m not really into stories with yandere characters in them. I mean, the closest one I could think of is that one character in Tsurezure Children and that was mainly for comedic purposes.

The yandere here is definitely not for comedic purposes.

This is a thriller series and you get that feeling just from the first chapter itself. But, surprisingly, it’s also super soft and fluffy??? Which is why I’m reevaluating my morality a bit every time I’m reading an update.

Trigger warning: there are chapters that hint at past instances of domestic violence and abuse, and some chapters can get bloody.

Let’s reevaluate our morality together! Read it on Webtoon.

Choco Latte

Banner with text, "Romance, Choco Latte by Ann."

Premise: Proving that love needs no words, this is a story about a girl who met a guy who works at a café, serving beautifully made lattes… and who turns out to be her schoolmate.

While the story is not the first of its kind, I absolutely enjoy reading Choco Latte. So far, it has every single trope you’ll find in a shoujo manga.

  • Girl meets boy
  • Adorably protective father
  • Lowkey mischievous little brother
  • School setting
  • Potential love rival (although female MC does not yet realize she likes male MC – but we KNOW she does)
  • Rooftop moments
  • LOTS OF MISUNDERSTANDINGS

It’s fun. Even the art style is reminiscent of late 2000s to early 2010s shoujo manga art styles so it’s super cute.

What makes Choco Latte different, though, is that there is no dialogue at all. The most they use words is when two characters are texting each other. I think this adds to how adorable the story is. And if you love reading shoujo manga such as myself, you don’t need them dialogue at all. Either way, I love it!

Read it here.

Cursed Princess Club

Banner with text, "Comedy, Cursed Princess Club by LambCat"

Premise: A beloved princess of the Pastel Kingdom is the living proof that not all princesses have it all. She stumbles across the Cursed Princess Club and her life will never be the same.

Another series with god-tier humor.

I love everything about this series. I love the small details on each character, like how the prettiest child of the Pastel King is his son – and his daughters are okay with that fact.

This story plays around with the idea, “Do not judge a book by its cover” oh-so-often. And I promise you, you’d be surprise at what you think you know about the characters here. To me, that’s what makes it so FUN to read. You never know what to expect!

Read now on Webtoon. (For a much-needed dose of laughter.)

Your Letter

Banner with text, "Drama, Your Letter by Hyeon A Cho."

Premise: Middle school girl embarks on a magical scavenger hunt when she starts finding a mysterious trail of letters all over her new school.

This.

This is the series that started it all.

Well… technically, I started reading Webtoon comics because of Shen Comix and Cheese in the Trap (which was not to my taste so I never bothered to finish it.) But this is the series that first got me hooked.

If I may describe this series, it’s like a story with an Owl City vibe. All whimsical and wholesome but not afraid to talk about dark, important things we go through life.

There are only ten chapters. Ten delicious, emotions-filled chapters but it ended satisfyingly and cleanly. The art is super super beautiful and the characters are all my children. Even the old witch who lives in the school’s greenhouse.

Read this heart-fluttery series on Webtoon now.


I’ve read more series, albeit more sporadically, but MS Word is telling me I’ve almost hit 1.5k words so I’m leaving it at that. Tell me, though: have you read any Webtoon comics? What are some of your faves? I’m always open for new recs!

All banner images are from Webtoon and owned by the respective creators. Featured image by Etienne Boulanger via Unsplash.

How you can deal with perfection procrastination in 4 simple ways

I’ve done this TONS of times. You probably have too.

When you’ve wasted more than an hour getting every value in your spreadsheet aligned correctly rather than create that report you need to present to your boss next Friday, you’re procrastinating.

When you’ve spent a year researching on every travel websites and blogs, and redoing your itinerary for that one-month backpacking in Europe instead of just buying the damn ticket, that’s procrastinating.

When you’ve spent half your Nanowrimo scrolling through Twitter and creating character aesthetics and designs instead of writing your novel, that’s procrastinating.

And all these become perfection procrastination when you do them because you’re afraid of failing or getting rejected or doing poorly.

Ever procrastinated on something because of the fear of failing or getting rejected? That's perfection procrastination. Here's how you can deal with it in 4 simple ways

Perfection procrastination:

– is counterproductive.
– feeds on your unhelpful perfectionist tendencies.
– does not help you whatsoever.

Perfectionists do this, obviously. But even if you don’t identify as one, if you’ve stalled on doing what you need to do because you’re afraid of rejection or failure and you want things to go smoothly the first round, that’s still perfection procrastination.

It’s the kind of procrastination that is not helpful to you or anyone at all. (And yes, there are helpful or high-functioning procrastination.)

Believe me, you do not want this. So today I’m going to share how I deal with perfection procrastination. Hopefully, if you’ve also experienced perfection procrastination, this helps you too.

HOW TO DEAL WITH PERFECTION PROCRASTINATION

1) Set yourself up for the mess and the failure

One reason why I experience perfection procrastination is because I’m afraid of messing things up and failing the first time. I wanted things to go smoothly. I wanted things to be perfect. But who am I kidding? Perfect is to achievable as Pluto is to Neptune. They’re near but they’ll never meet. (Unless of course, the universe ends and they collide. But I digress.)

This fear of messing things up and failing often hinders us from doing what we’re supposed to be doing. This is where setting yourself up for the mess and failure comes in. It does not mean you’re giving yourself permission to do half-ass, sloppy work either.

Rather, you’re placing yourself in a position where perfection can’t happen. Perfection isn’t even on the menu because you’ve ordered at a restaurant that only serves chaos.
Here’s an example:

One of the artists I admire online, Jiji (@jijidraws) shared how she hasn’t posted any artworks recently because of her nagging fear that it won’t be good enough to post online.

So she created the No Fear Sketchbook.

In it, she can’t use pencils, and she can’t erase her works. She knows not all the works in the sketchbook will be pretty or even good enough. Her only goal is to get something done. (Which I’ll talk further below.)

I love the idea of the No Fear Sketchbook. And I think you could apply this to any creative hobby you do. Like a No Fear Journal for writing, or a No Fear Photo Session where you aren’t allowed to edit your photographs.

By actively blocking out your perfectionism or perfectionist tendencies, you are able to work without constantly thinking it has to be perfect.

2) Knock out the “First Domino”

I recently came across this concept when I stumbled upon an article about a book called Good Excuse Goals by Jullien Gordon. (Which I’m totally adding to my TBR.)

The idea behind the “First Domino” is to pick the easiest, most impactful domino to knock out. This helps you break away from the procrastination and just start the work.

Imagine someone who wanted to start a blog but they wanted things to be absolutely perfect before launching. So they do their research and create their editorial calendar and pick out the theme and work on blog design. And do some more research and a thousand other tiny things they could have done later on.

What they’re doing is perfection procrastination.

Imagine just starting a blog, putting out several posts and interacting with other bloggers. Then all their worries from starting a blog will go away, won’t it?

Look, I’m not saying planning is wrong and that spontaneity is the best. But there is a huuuge difference between planning diligently and stalling because of the fear of imperfection.

By knocking out the “first domino”, you free yourself from worrying over taking that first step. You just take it and the rest will be easy to topple over.

3) Set more realistic goals

Did you know that people are more likely to finish on time when they’re given concrete tasks and they’re more likely to put things off when they see the work abstractly?

This 2009 study found that how the task is presented can influence when and how it gets done. Basically, tasks that are concrete and specific are accomplished on time while tasks that are more abstract and general aren’t.

My mind: *blown*

But it makes so much sense, doesn’t it?? Like, maybe your goal is to be a New York Times Bestseller, or an award-winning blogger, or you want your Youtube channel to get a million subscribers.

Cool. Awesome goals.

But will you be able to achieve them quickly and easily? Will you be able to follow through with these big goals?

Let’s be real here: you prooobably won’t.

All these big goals are great but they all feel like a faraway castle. And because they feel farfetched, accomplishing them gets postponed all-the-freaking-time. You get de-motivated and uninspired to continue. (I know this because I’m guilty of doing this.)

This is why I absolutely encourage turning big goals into smaller, more achievable goals.

Alli Worthington (my newly found blogging idol) said it best: reverse engineer your big dreams and goals, and make them more realistic.

Make them more concrete and more specific. You can even set yourself a short deadline with a five-item to-do list, or have a quota you need to meet at a set time. That’s how big dreams become more achievable.

4) “Good enough” is good enough

I noticed that whenever I create something, I have a finished outcome in my mind. So I work in order to reach that finished outcome.

Now, it’s great to know where you’re headed with your creative projects. But this can also backfire unpleasantly. You may end up focusing too much on the outcome – editing as you go, tweaking a small part of your artwork here and there – rather than on the process.

This is something I talked about before in my post about conquering creative blocks. Choose finished rather than perfect. Instead of wasting too much time making your work perfect, just get it DONE.

The more work you’ve put behind you, the more things you’ve finished, and the more lessons you’ll be able to learn from them. These finished works won’t all be near-perfect and they definitely won’t be all presentable. But they are good enough.

Go for good enough. Besides, you can always tweak it afterwards. What’s important is that you get it out the door.

Remember, perfection does not offer you the opportunity to learn. Mistakes do. And there is much you can learn from the mistakes you make along the way. That’s how you improve and, ultimately, grow.

Have you experienced perfection procrastination? How did you deal with it? Share your awesomeness below!

xx Kate

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How to deal with perfection procrastination in 4 simple ways | mindset, self-improvement, personal growth, perfectionism

Photo from Ivory Mix

How to make your daily commute more relaxed and bearable

If you live far from your school or work, then you’re pretty familiar with the life-draining experience that is commuting. You know that feeling when you’re in one heck of a traffic jam, your blood pressure spikes and your stress-level goes from zero to a hundred real quick? Yeah that.

I personally have no qualms on long commutes; my family has always lived far from the city centre and we prefer it that way. But I despise the heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic that comes with commuting.

I hate it with passion.

And when I’m royally pissed while commuting, I’ll bring that mood with me wherever I’ll go. Then I’d be royally pissed at everything for the rest of the day.

How to Make Your Daily Commute More Relaxed and Bearable | Daily commute, relaxed, mindfulness, happiness, stress relief

Let’s be real here: being royally pissed for a whole day can be quite exhausting.

Bad moods drain the life out of you. They exhaust you. And when you’re in one, it’s sometimes pretty hard to get out of it. Daily commute and traffic jams have a way of pushing our buttons, which is why commuting can be so stressful.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way! Your commute time can be peaceful slices of your day, if you want it to. That’s why I always try and make my long commute to and from uni as relaxed and as bearable as I possibly could. Here are some things you can try to have a more relaxed and more bearable daily commute.

6 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DAILY COMMUTE MORE RELAXING AND BEARABLE

1 | Read a book

This works when the traffic is super heavy and the cars move at, like, less than five centimetres per hour. Reading a book that’s light and in your favorite genre can make the daily commute more enjoyable. If you aren’t into or able to read a book in your commute, then maybe listening to an audiobook would be great for you. (And yes, listening to audiobooks is technically reading! Fayt me.)

2 | Listen to relaxing podcasts

Podcasts and commute are the best combination, you guys! I was a skeptic before, since I love listening to podcasts in a quiet room. But I was a quick convert the moment I listened to some of my favorite podcasts while taking the suuuper long commute to the office I interned in last semester. It made that hours-long travel more bearable. Sometimes, especially when I’m listening to Straight and Curly, I’d have to bite back a laugh. Talk about bringing good mood to where you’ll go!

3 | Do small craft work

This one, I’ve never personally done during my commute. But one time, there was this fellow passenger in front of me who was crocheting while we were in a traffic jam. She looked absolutely cozy and relaxed while doing it, too! There are also fellow artists who bring a small sketchbook with them so they can sketch while commuting. If you’re into small craft works like crocheting and art, you can totally do this! These are definitely small yet absolutely fun activities you can do in your daily commute.

4 | Be present (and listen to Sargant)

Being present, especially in an often stress-filled environment like the middle of heavy traffic, can be extremely difficult. And I’d like to give a special side eye to those impatient drivers who toot their horns like some entitled trolls and horribly adding to the already noise-polluted situation. We all want to get out of this traffic, Benjamin.

I recently came across Ash Sargant, this man who created ten-minute tracks of the BEST ambient music I’ve ever heard. What he did, in my opinion, was extraordinary.

Sargant believed that one of the reasons why we find our commutes super stressful is because we associate the usual sounds we hear during a commute – the footsteps, the car horns, the engines – with stress. So he recorded calming music tracks using traffic, escalators, footsteps on cement floor, and all other mundane sounds that we usually find annoying. This particular track, Big Departure, is my favorite.

5 | Practice mindfulness

I don’t practice mindfulness regularly but the times that I did, it never fails me. One simple mindfulness exercise I do while commuting is picking up four things that I can sense with four of my senses. So, four things I can see, smell, feel and hear. I usually don’t include taste. If mindfulness meditation seems hard for you, there are also short guided meditation podcasts, like Chel Hamilton’s Meditation Minis podcast, and apps like Headspace that you can listen to.

6 | Catch up on sleep

By far, this is my favorite thing to do while commuting. And as someone who can sleep on, like, any-freakin-where, this comes easy-peasy for me. It’s great too, since I don’t have to awkwardly look at that window pane in between the two passengers in front of me. Catching up on sleep during your commute is fantastic especially if you didn’t have much time to sleep in the past few days.

Do you take long commutes everyday? What do you do to make your daily commute more relaxing and more bearable?

xx Kate

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6 Simple Ways to Make Your daily Commute More Relaxed and Bearable | Lifestyle, stress relief, mental health, happiness
PS. I have a Pinterest board for stress relief and another one for mindfulness and mediation. Check them out!

Do this when your Fear of Missing Out is at its all-time high

Imagine this. One fine morning, you wake up and realize, “Oh my god, I’m doing the same thing over and over every day!” So you end up doing every conceivable thing you haven’t tried in a matter of days or weeks. You try to tick out this super long bucket list before this internally-set deadline comes to pass.

At the end of the day, you feel extremely exhausted and, um… not quite as accomplished as you thought you would be..?

There was an exact same episode in Modern Family about this. This kid Manny realized that he’s missing out on things that boys his age often do. And so, before his thirteenth birthday came to an end, he set out to do several of them like phone pranks and lying on a colorful float in the middle of the pool.

Let’s all be honest here: we’ve had our Manny moment.

We’ve all had an episode or two of FOMO, or fear of missing out, especially in this age of social media and being constantly connected to the entire world. Add to that, this growing pandemic of comparisonitis, some of us practically experience FOMO, like, twice a week tops. (Or is that just me? Hmm.)

But every once in a while, there’s that day. When your mind decides to jump deep, deep down into this FOMO rabbit hole and you then go into an existential crisis. You question the meaning of your life. You wonder if you’ve done stuff people your age “often do”. You think, Am I missing out on the most important things???

What to do when fear of missing out or FOMO is at its peak level | life advice, personal growth, inspiration, motivation, life tips

Life is a roller coaster ride of changeable wants.

One minute, you want to have a stable routine. The next minute you want to change it up a bit. It’s all fun and exciting until you reach either edge of the spectrum – too attached to a routine to make room for changes, or frantically doing new things by the minute. And we often suffer the latter. (Case in point: the Manny moment.)

The good news is: we can find a balance. We can deal with this fear of missing out in a healthy, do-no-harm way. Here’s what you can do when FOMO is at its peak level.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

I did not drop that c-bomb above for show, you know.

If not treated early, comparisonitis could be a deadly disease that could severely affect your life. I should know. I have comparisonitis as much as an active child has snot and bruised knees. Which is, like, nearly every day. And fear of missing out? That’s an effect of comparing yourself to others. You take a look at other people’s lives and you take a look at yours. And (because we’re often too hard on ourselves) you come up with the conclusion that you’ve done less than anybody else. Cue FOMO.

Friend, stop it. Comparisonitis never gave us any real benefit. So you can definitely cut that out of your system and out of your life.

Related: How to Turn The Comparison Game Around and Actually Help You

Look Into Your Inner World

Know what you want in your life. A lot of us are so hung up on wanting to experience #AllTheThings that our external world can offer us, we forget to take notice of the incredible world right under our nose… or, you know, inside our skull.

Getting to know yourself is intimate and it is extremely important in order to not let FOMO reach its peak. If you want to learn how to find yourself but don’t know where to start, I HIGHLY encourage you to read Syaza’s amazing post about how to find yourself when you’re feeling lost. It’s like meditation on paper… or mobile screen, whatever. It’s amazing and may enlighten you with some awesome ideas!

Remember that We All Run on Different Paths in Different Paces

Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And you have to remember that there’s no one participating in your own marathon but yourself. Sure, it may look like you and some other people are running in the same direction. But sooner or later, your paths will diverge. They’d go the other way, and you’d continue on yours. You’ll have a few stops somewhere in the middle, and new people will pass you by. And you’ll also pass by some. But these people? They’re not “ahead” of you. In the one-man marathon you’re in, no one ever is or ever will be.

Let Go of the Limiting Beliefs

My sweet, sweet potato, limiting beliefs are comparisonitis’s nasty cousins. They are good at nothing but, well… limit you. Let them go. You do not need them. You are better off without them.

Side note: I do understand that letting limiting beliefs go is easier said than done, so I’ve listed 5 common limiting beliefs you may have and how to vanquish them like a bogart. *whips out wand*

Take Inventory of What You Have Right Now

I like to think that we all have a box we carry with us all the time. And the more we grow, and the more we experience life, we pick up stuff that we put inside our box. Do an audit of what’s inside your box. And while you’re at it, don’t look at other people’s boxes! Just focus on your own box. Look at all the things that you’ve picked up over time. What’s in it? How do these things impact your life? What good did they bring you?

Folks, this is gratitude. Or… you know, how I practice gratitude in my life. By looking at my box. By being extremely grateful of what I’ve brought along and carried with me in this journey called life. And then, and only then, can I trudge forward, to try new things and meet new people and live my life to the fullest.

Have you ever experienced boss-level FOMO? How did you deal with it? Share your stories and insights below, we’d love to hear (or read) them! <3

xx Kate

Fear of Missing Out | Perfectionist | FOMO | Self-improvement | Personal Growth | Lifestyle

Photos from Ivory Mix

Trying everything all at once achieves nothing

When I was a kid (and I was unknowingly living the glory days of not having to stress over college) I used to play this game. I called it “Don’t Let the Balloon Touch the Floor.” It’s a simple game: you launch the balloon up in the air and not let it touch the floor. And I enjoyed it. I felt like one of those superheroes when they do that agility trickery-do. I felt like I could do anything.

Now, imagine what would happen if there were more than one balloon you have to keep from touching the floor. Imagine twelve balloons. Suddenly it’s not so enjoyable now, is it? It will become tiring. You’d have to be in different places and look at all twelve balloons at once. Before long, you’d be out of breath and frantic. You’d be overwhelmed.

That’s also what happens when you try to work on everything – and I mean every minute detail – in your life at the same time.

I find that high-achievers and perfectionists such as myself struggle with this. Not only do I try to juggle college and blogging and my art and the occasional freelancing I get. I want to do all of them at the same time – and do it per-fect-ly. I want to keep all these balloons from touching the floor because they are all important. They all hold significant places in my life. It just feels wrong to choose one from the other when I could do everything I can to keep all of them afloat, right? Right???

Wrong, Kate. W R O N G.

Look, I love Shakira and I love Zootopia and Judy but I don’t think this is what they meant by “trying everything”. And okay, there’s nothing wrong with trying to find that delicious middle ground where you manage to balance everything. Work-life balance is, like, every twenty-something’s dream. Being a Master Multitasker just feels like the Productivity Holy Grail.

But to perfectly manage every aspect in your life perfectly?? It’s just damn near impossible.

Here’s the difficult pill to swallow:

self-improvement quote

If you want to exercise more regularly, but also eat more nutritiously, and meditate, and be more productive and write more words a day and also, like, want to master crocheting all-at-freaking-once, can you possibly dream of achieving any one of those things?

(In case you’re curious, yes, that pill is still stuck in my throat.)

Surprisingly, there are people who could. But the vast majority of the world can’t. I can’t. A lot of the people I know can’t. And if you’re one of us and you’re agonizing over this, I want you to know there is absolutely nothing wrong you!

This simply means that you are human (not saying that those who can master multitask aren’t) and you have limitations. You can only do so much at a time. Some things, like self-improvement, are simply not something you can multitask. Trying to improve every aspect of your life all at once will leave you exhausted. Like trying to keep twelve balloons afloat.

Sure, maybe all of the things you have to improve are important. But you don’t have to accomplish them altogether. You can take on one thing and focus on only that one thing.

Instead of balloons, imagine you’re making pottery.

You have one lump of clay on top of the pottery wheel. You work your damn best and do your frakkin-hardest to turn that lump into a work of art. And when you’re done (and it will be a work of art, because I believe in your awesomeness) you move on to work on the next lump. Then the next lump. Then the next. Focus on one thing at a time. Until you’ve accomplished all the lumps you had to work on. Until all of them are works of art.

And look! You didn’t have to juggle everything all at once! Yay you!

Do you also struggle with wanting to self-improve on #AllTheThings? Would you rather multitask on personal goals or try one thing at a time? Share your thoughts below!

xx Kate

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Why Trying Everything At Once Achieve Nothing | Goals, Overwhelm, Personal growth, Lifestyle, Mindset, Self-Improvement

Photo from Ivory Mix

Three Key Steps to Challenge Unhelpful Negative Self-Talk

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Most of us have been mentally talking to ourselves for our whole lives. We’ve started doing this the second we learned about words and their meanings and how meaningful – and powerful – words could be.

And often these are the kinds of self-talk we engage in:

Stop that.

You don’t know what you’re doing.

You don’t know anything.

You’re worthless.

How to Challenge Negative Self-Talk | Personal growth, Mental Health, Life tips, Inner critic, Personal development, Self-improvement, Healthy mind

I’m going to take a guess this is the kind of self-talk you have, too. The cautious ones. The wary ones. The doubtful ones. Negative self-talk.

How Negative Self-Talk Developed

I read an article somewhere that says the negative self-talk dominating our minds got its root, first and foremost, from our parents. You know how as kids we were always told to keep away from this and that because it’s dangerous? To keep quiet and let the adults talk? To not disturb the old lady across the street? To not disturb anyone?

I’m sure our parentals had good intentions. They were only trying to teach us good manners. But as children with inner worlds still developing, we absorb everything handed to us. We’re basically Spongebobs! As we grow and take in and process the world we see with our eyes, our inner world is building itself too. And all those loving cautions and wariness and doubt?

They embed themselves into our mental blueprint quite early on. Soon enough, we find out there are societal expectations and standards that the rest of the world somehow follow. These too embed themselves into our mind. And, lo and behold, our own little inner critic is born. Kinda like a Powerpuff Girl, don’t you think? And actually,

The Power of Negative Self-Talk

There are studies that have proven constant negative self-talk leads to increased stress, and worst case scenario, anxiety and depression.

Negative self-talk can limit you. It holds you back from your true potential, and get this, it can be self-fulfilling. You constantly tell yourself you’re not good enough to do or be something, chances are you’ll talk yourself out of even trying.

The worst part is that negative self-talk can do all these in sneaky-ninja style. Self-talk is habitual and it happens so fast, you won’t be able to consciously catch everything. But your subconscious does, and it absorbs everything it catches. You may live your life unaware that your self-talk is actually hurting you and affecting the way you see yourself. So here are 3 key steps to challenge negative self-talk.

HOW TO DEAL WITH
NEGATIVE SELF-TALK IN THREE KEY STEPS

1 | Be Mindful

Notice what you mentally say to yourself every day. Negative self-talk is a sneaky ninja so being able to suss it out and feel its presence is important. Being mindful of your thought process and what goes on in your head will help in this. I learned that negative self-talk often appears in either one of these three scenarios:

When you encounter something new. It could be a new face or a new challenge or a new idea. Negative self-talk is wary of changes and new things. I’d even go far and say, it’s afraid of change and new things. Which is why it pops out whenever there’s one, and it will do everything in its power so you won’t go anywhere near the change or the new thing.

When your self-worth is being measured. It could be submitting an art for an art contest. It could be passing a major exam. It could be talking to your boss about a project you were assigned for. It could be as simple as picking the outfit of the day. Depending on what you feel measures your self-worth, negative self-talk will be there to criticize you.

When you’re in a stressful situations. We are often at our most vulnerable when we’re in a stressful situation. And sneaky ninjas like your negative self-talk are trained to sneak in on other people in order to get their job done.

It can appear in other scenarios too. And by becoming more aware of your thoughts, you’ll be able to spot negative self-talk before it can do anything else. Besides, ninjas do their work best when they are able to sneak in. Take that element of surprise out of its hands with mindfulness. Rachael Kable is my go-to for anything mindfulness. Her blog and her podcast, The Mindful Kind, is jam-packed with tips and advice on living a more mindful life.

2 | Know Negative Self-Talk’s Worth

Ask yourself: Is this negative self-talk factual or farfetch? Does it matter now and will it matter in five years? Is it helpful to what I want to achieve or is it hurting me? Is this something I’d say to a friend?

That last one in particular is something I find incredibly helpful.

I mean, think about it. When your friend goes to you saying, “I don’t think I can do this.” What do you do? You encourage them. You motivate them. You tell them, yes you can. You definitely don’t go, “Yeah you’re right. Don’t do it.” But isn’t it so weird that we treat ourselves differently?

We expect more highly of ourselves, yet we also know our flaws and imperfections far more than we know anyone else’s. Which is why we’re so harsh. This is exactly what negative self-talk thrives on. So if it’s factual, if it matters, if it’s helpful and if it’s loving, then the negative self-talk is good in a way. But more often than not, the opposite is true. Be sure that it ticks all the boxes.

3 | Create Reframing Exercises Regularly

Reframing your unhelpful negative self-talk is important if you want to challenge it, and ultimately deal with it in a healthier way. You can do this by changing your mindset, journaling, even talking to a friend or maybe a professional. I find that Tim Ferriss’ Fear-Setting is also helpful here, if you’re all for practical and visual way of dealing with negative self-talk.

The key here is to do it regularly. You may never get rid of negative self-talk completely. And you don’t have to! You just have to practice dealing with it and reframing it with something more helpful and more loving. After all, the only way to deal with sneaky ninjas is by constantly practicing your own defenses and counterattacks.

You got this! I believe in you.

How do you deal with negative self-talk? Have I missed out on something incredibly helpful? Share it in the comments below!

xx Kate

How to Challenge Unhelpful Negative Self-Talk | Personal growth, Mindset, Mental Health, Self-Talk, Inner Critic, Self-Improvement
Photos from Light & Grace (via Creative Market) and Ivory Mix

A Quick Guide to Support Your Fave Creatives Online

We know the Internet can be a pretty harsh place. And it is sadly quite common for the creative folks to not be taken seriously as professionals online. Off the top of my head, I can enumerate common scenarios in the Interwebs where creative people have been robbed off of fair compensation or at the very least, credit. And I can tell you right now, I’ve personally experienced at least two of these:

Book bloggers being offered free books in exchange for a book marketing campaign (i.e, organizing blog tours and giveaways)

The “All-Mighty Free Exposure” mentality (rolling my eyes)

Uncredited use of a photographer’s work

Companies justifying free stuff as just compensation for a promotional post.

Bloggers’ posts being blatantly copied word for word.

Big brands utilizing contests to cherry-pick their favored artworks when they could just hire people like any other jobs.

Honestly, these all suck.

Just experiencing one of these sucks.

Creatives are found in almost every nook and cranny of every existing industry. You find creatives in the Interwebs, in markets, and in every conceivable department in a corporate office. Yes, even in infamous “boring jobs” like accounting.
Related: Boredom Boosts Creativity. Here’s How.

Most of all, everyone – and I mean everyone – knows (or at the very least has an inkling) of the importance of creativity. Creativity results visually appealing works and amazing designs. Creativity kickstarts awesome ideas. Think of Tesla’s alternating current. Think of Joy Mangano and her Miracle Mop. Think of the Empress Hsi Ling Shi who saw a bunch of worm cocoons and thought, “Ooh! We can make a cloth out of this!”

Creativity could definitely turn the world upside down.

Creativity is responsible for the first step. That spark of an idea that will gradually rise into incredible fireworks. That tiny seedling that will later become an enormous, beautiful tree. The starting point of success.

It all begins with a creative mind or four.

Which is why we should all appreciate a creative’s work. That said, you don’t have to bank out a million dollars to support your creative friend or loved one! Even the smallest acts of kindness can go a long way. Here are a few ways you can support your creative friends with little to no cost.

How to Support Your Fave Creatives with a Few Bucks

Become their Patron

From artists to bloggers, from booktubers to podcasters, there are plenty of creative folks over on Patreon! Patreon is a website where you can support a group or individual through monthly pledges and basically become their Patrons. There are people who have their pledges start at one dollar and go up from there. And in return, you can get Patron-exclusive goodies and behind-the-scenes. Isn’t that fun! 🙂

Support their Kickstarter campaign

Lots of creatives have Kickstarter campaigns to publish a book or launch a video game. It’s kinda like Patreon except your funding for a creative’s one huge project rather than their monthly income. And since the projects are huge, the goodies you get are huge too.

Buy their products

Almost all creatives sell the product of their awesome creativity. And you can find it ANYWHERE. There are those who sell handmade watercolors and other crafts on Etsy, stickers and prints on RedBubble and Society6, and music on iTunes or Google music. Some even have their own shops for their digital products such as eBooks and workbooks. Which goes to say that you have lots of opportunities to buy your fave creatives’ stuff. Isn’t that great!

Buy them coffee

I know not everyone can afford a fifty-dollar Kickstarter campaign pledge. But there are less expensive ways to support your creative friends! Ko-fi is an online platform where you can, well, buy someone coffee. Technically, you donate three dollars to them to show your appreciation for their work. The best thing about this is that Ko-fi does not take a single cent from your money and it goes straight to your Paypal!

How to Support Your Fave Creatives with Zero Cost

Of course, if you are not able to afford financially supporting your creative friends, you can still show your support through other ways that won’t cost you any money.

<3 Credit them for their work

<3 Share or retweet their posts

<3 Tell your friends and family about them

<3 Give them a shoutout

<3 Link back to their posts

<3 Leave a review on their podcasts or books

<3 Leave a comment on their Instagram post or video on YouTube

<3 Stream their music on Spotify or Bandcamp

<3 Recommend them to people you know

<3 Use their affiliate links

<3 Tell them how much you love their work. (Trust me. This boosts self-confidence 100%)

What other ways do you think you can show your support to your creative friends? Share them in the comments below!

xx Kate

Photos from Ivory Mix and Gabrielle Cole

You Can’t Do What You Want to Do Unless You Start Doing It

Back in 2016, when I was new to Instagram, I was scrolling through all these gorgeous illustrations of freeform watercolor flowers. Videos and images of a slender hand with a paintbrush swirling it like a wand and colors seeping out at the edge of the bristles.

In my eyes, these amazing people were magicians. They were performing purely enchanting magic. I couldn’t take my eyes off them.

For hours, I’d dive deep into different watercolor hashtags, witnessing the magic over and over again. At one point, one thought sparked in me.

Almost immediately, it bled into my mind like watercolor paint spreading onto a wet paper:
I want to paint with watercolor too.

Immediately, I shoved the thought away. I grabbed a metaphorical tissue paper and lifted that bleeding watercolor paint off my canvas mind. Because… I couldn’t. I was never good at watercolor, that’s what I kept telling myself. And so I went on with my life, inspired and captivated and completely jealous of the artists I see in my mobile screen.

That is… Until I was standing on the school and office supplies store. In front of a shelf of student quality watercolors.

You know that part when Moana sang about the line where the sky meets the sea, “It calls me”?

That was me in the student grade art supplies aisle that day.

It was one of those few times in my life when I let neither fear nor self-doubt stop me. I didn’t think about anything. I didn’t have an impromptu performance with my chicken and sang about how I’ve been staring at the edge of the water(color) the way Moana did.

Before I knew it, I was at the cashier with a set of watercolor tubes and brushes clutched at each hand.

fear, starting, quotes

That fear that you’re going to suck and it’ll be awful.

On New Things and the Fear of Starting

Listen:

You will suck. That’s probably the most likely scenario.

I’m not saying this to be a Jenny Raincloud, by the way. I’m saying this because it’s true. You’re new to this. Of course you’re not going to master it overnight. Give yourself some slack, my sweet exhausted potato. Embrace the suck.

And if it gives you any comfort, no one started out being a master.

Picasso spent his early days as a painter being ridiculed for his art. He was told his art was not good. PICASSO. (I know this because National Geographic told me.) I’m quite certain that Mozart didn’t come out of his mother’s womb with a piano and composing iconic music after iconic music. And Colonel Sanders! Grandpa KFC, of all people, started out his fried chicken empire far later into his life. These people have achieved success in one way or another. And th good news? They all achieved it in various ways and at various points in their lives.

You can too, if you stop listening to fear.

Why the Fear is There

The first time I attempted to paint galaxy, it ended up looking like a hot pot of guts and brains. You know, the kind that not even the hungriest of zombies would go near.

And I stayed that way for months.

Imagine if you tried inserting the USB plug on your laptop for a hundred times. And miserably failed on all those times? I was that frustrated. Probably 75% of that time I contemplated on throwing everything I bought and never lay my hands on watercolor ever again. The fear was constantly whispering to my ear that I sucked and that we should just stop this. Gosh, it was right there with me at the art supplies aisle. And it was there again when I was about to put my first watercolor stroke on paper. And the next. And the next. Fear is always with us.

But see, friend, here’s what I learned: The fear is there for a reason.

It needs you to be grounded. It needs you to be realistic. To not get your hopes too high up in the clouds. But if you allow that fear to take control, to take full control?

You’ll be so grounded in your place that you wouldn’t be able to move.

And this is where you’ll come in. You have to have your own volition to move. To take the first step. To grab that watercolor from the shelf. To make your first stroke on paper. To write that first sentence. To stand up and speak out. To let fear be with you every step of the way, but to never let it take hold of the wheel.

You can’t do what you want to do unless you do it. You have to turn that wanting into being.

Make “I want to paint” become “I am painting.”

Make “I want to speak out” become “I am speaking out.”

Make “I want to tell this story” become “I am telling this story.”

You can never magically be what you want to be. You have, first of all, to take action.

And once you’ve taken that first step, don’t stop. Because, believe me, I know how harder the next steps will be. And it will be Super Tempting to just shrug off and say, “Eh. I tried.” But the next step is going to be your new first step. So you have to keep at it. You have to keep going.

Until you are what you want.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do for a really long time? Have you taken the first step to do it? If you have, share some tips on how to conquer that fear of starting! We welcome all the wisdom you have 🙂

xx Kate

Photos from Death to Stock and Ivory Mix

How to Make Your Well-Being a Priority

When my journalist sister had to take a day off because of a flu, we had to strap her to her bed. (Metaphorically, of course. We’re not monsters.) But then the next day? She’s back to work. Reasoning out that there are a lot of news that needs to be written that day. That she won’t be productive if she’s stuck in bed.

And you know what, I was SO mad.

Sure, productivity is important. I know this. You know this. Everyone and their mom and tita knows this. But this is not how productivity should go.

Despite our growing awareness on the importance of relaxing, there’s no denying the hustle culture is still ever-present. And I’m all for this yo! I am an avid supporter of hard work makes the dream work. I am pro- rolling up the sleeves and doing the job wholeheartedly and getting things done. Possibly even singing “Dig dig dig” like the Seven Dwarves.

My problem is that this can, and eventually will, go too far.

And usually when things go too far… No one’s happy.

Not you, not your friends and family, and definitely not the Seven Dwarves. Not even Happy. And I honestly don’t think self-improvement works that way.

See, here’s the thing: there will always be work waiting for you.

Work is almost as ever-present as humidity in the tropics, or ice in Antarctica. Work doesn’t give a single cent if it’s raining cats or dogs. It doesn’t care if the bees go extinct. And it certainly doesn’t care if you’re already hacking your lungs out. It’s still going to be there, regardless. So are you really going to compromise your health for that? Actually, are you really going to compromise your health for anything?

HECK NO.

well-being, quote

Which is why taking care of every aspect of your well-being is important in the long run. You cannot compromise your health for productivity, or anything else for that matter.

Your body is your long-term investment. And so you have to make every aspect of your well-being a priority. This is one of the few things in the universe that you absolutely cannot compromise.

Five Ways to Make Your Well-Being a Priority | Life advice, Well-being, Wellness, Personal growth

Deliberately Choose to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

As early as first grade, we were all taught that greens are good and too much Coke isn’t. But let’s be honest here, that’s an easy concept to understand but very difficult to apply in your lifestyle.

It could start small like, say, making yourself eat veggies a meal a day. Or having yourself dropped off a block from where you should go so you could walk the rest of the way.

And I’m not saying you can’t eat pizza and cake or take afternoon naps anymore. You totally could! My comfort food is chocolate-coated marshmallow. I can devour a dozen of those in one sitting. But I try not to because I know my teeth won’t ever forgive me. Still, I indulge myself with two or three and move along.

Listen to Your Body

Our bodies are not shy beans. It’s either completely outspoken or passive-aggressive. But if it has some issues, it WILL tell you, one way or another. The key here is to listen to your own body.

Sometimes, it can be pretty easy to know what our body wants. But there are definitely times when we’re too caught up with our own thoughts to take notice of what our own body is screaming at us.

I find that mindfulness helps here. Pause for a moment and do a quick mental check up on your body. Feel where the tensions are and which part hurts or feels heavy. Notice things you feel regularly or frequently.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep, like eating veggies and exercise, greatly affects our physical and mental health. But when we’re extremely busy or stressed, most of us wouldn’t hesitate to give it up and trade it for more time.

Friend, don’t.

Every individual has their own sleeping schedules that work for them. Find your own Goldilock zone. There’s much more meaningful tasks you can achieve in a day when you have enough sleep than when you don’t. So really, to be productive means to have enough sleep in a day. Now that’s how personal development works!

Also read: You May Not Need to Be an Early Bird to be Productive

Nurture Healthy Relationships and Wonderful Connections

We’re social beings, us humans. We crave relationships and having a connection with other people. Even twelve-year-old Kate in her goth/emo phase.

You can build new connections by joining in a group or a local organization that piques your interest. This can create a sense of belonging and also boost our self-confidence.

And while having acquaintances are great, knowing that you also have a close set of friends who are your awesome support system greatly helps in our physical and mental well-being too.

That said, if a relationship is not building you up and makes you feel sad instead, you have to pluck it out. Take that toxic relationship out of your life like tooth decay.

Take Some Time to do Things You Enjoy

Every time I feel stressed and overwhelmed with college or life in general, I work on an art project or write a draft for a blog post. And I always feel recharged afterwards. Seriously, every-freakin-time.

Having hobbies is incredibly important. You’ll not only get your mind off school or work for a while, but once you go back, your mind and body will be well-rested and super ready to tackle whatever work you need to do.

How do you prioritize your physical, mental and emotional well-being? Share your awesome insights in the comments below!

xx Kate

Photos from Marina Lima and Death to Stock

An Update.

March was the month I’ve decided, “Okay, Kate. This will be your month. You will get your ish together and be up on your blogging game, yeah? YEAHHH!”

Obviously, it became the month I’m knee-deep busy in college. Surprise surprise.

I’m not one to post “I’m so sorry for not being active on my blog in the past few decades you guysss :'((” and then promise to be more active now and then, like, disappear. Because I just think that’s not okay, ya know? Not for you and not for the people who follow your blog.

And so this post is more of a “Hey guys! I’m alive! I’m breathing! Yayayaaaa! But I’ll be giving myself three more months to recover from finals and have ample time to focus on applying for internship.”

That’s not to say that I’m completely taking a break from the blogosphere. I’ll still be here. I have heaps of posts I need to comment on and blogs I need to check out. And I do intend on commenting on and checking out ALL of them.

I just won’t publish any new posts for three months, that’s all.

And throughout that three months I’ll also be working behind the scenes since I plan on changing my blog’s look. It’s been, what, more than a year? I think that’s long enough 🙂

So to recap:

+ I won’t be publishing any new post until July.

+ I’ll still visit blogs and probably binge on some.

+ By July, this blog will have a new look. (Hopefully.)

Of course, if you want to get in touch, you can always contact me via email or say hello on any social platform I’m in. Don’t be shy! I’ll always reply 🙂

So that’s it from me. For now. I hope you have a lovely weekend ahead of you!